ABOVE: Bucket full of water. Image by: iStock Images/Times Live
Cape Town – As a result of an underground leak‚ a man is likely to be Cape Town’s highest water consumer‚ according to a list published by the city council.
But Saleem Gamza‚ who lives in Haywood Road in Crawford — named by the city council as home to the city’s greediest consumer at 702,000 litres a month — said the man being held responsible was unaware water was leaking under his property until he received a bill and the city checked his meter at the end of January.
“I know the house and it is not their fault an underground pipe burst‚” Gamza told The Times‚ declining to identify the neighbour involved.
“It was only after their meter was checked and the bill came did they know there was a problem. The city told them they could not do anything because it was on private property and so they had to get a plumber in to fix it.
“This man is stressing. He feels embarrassed‚ guilty and victimised‚ and has concerns over how to pay the bill.”
Gamza said that if the city had checked the man’s meter when it was scheduled to‚ the problem would have been detected weeks earlier.
On Monday the city released a list of the street names of the top 100 residential water consumers.
According to the list‚ the five worst perpetrators were in Crawford‚ Manenberg‚ Lansdowne and Bishopscourt‚ all using more than 500,000 litres a month.
Gamza believed that the city had “intruded on our privacy by naming the streets. People are hurling abuse at us and it’s not fair. There should be collaboration and not finger-pointing to deal with these matters”.
Moegamad Robertson‚ from Boundary Road in Lansdowne‚ said most of the properties on the 300-metre stretch of road were owned by Muslim families who lived in large groups — but not big enough to get through the 557,000 litres the city claimed one home was using.
“My mom rents her property to four families and her water bill was high at R11,000‚” Robertson said.
The city council did not respond to queries from The Times‚ but referred to a city by-law which states: “No person may negligently‚ purposefully or wastefully permit pipes or water fittings to leak”.